She’s been away for a year, but ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion makes her grand return – and she has grand plans in store that involve not only herself, but her younger brother.
“Unstoppable” Angela Lee will jump back into the ONE Championship cage to defend her world title in the main event of ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS on 18 May.
While her legion of fans are beyond excited about Lee’s return, Lee herself seems equally fired up, because she’s making her return against her toughest opponent to date, and the only woman to take her the distance inside the cage – Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi.
Lee took the spoils in that encounter, winning a unanimous decision to capture the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title two years ago. Now, the pair are set to face off for a second time, with the belt still in Lee’s hands, and up for grabs.
“I am really excited,” Lee said.
“First of all, we faced each other two years back, so I have an idea of what her style is. I know what she has been working on. Since our first match, I have had two really great title defences.
“I got to show how my game is evolving, and I have been working to tighten everything up and sharpen my skills everywhere. I feel really confident going into this match. I think it will go according to the game plan, and I cannot wait to be back.”
The matchup was due to take place last November, but a nasty car accident left Lee injured and emotionally shaken. Clearly she was in no position to compete, so the bout was postponed.
While Lee was unable to compete, she still travelled to Singapore to meet and greet fans and watch the event live. Yamaguchi, meanwhile, was handed an alternative opponent in the form of a rematch against Gina “Conviction” Iniong. “V.V” picked up the win, and Lee revealed she shared a special moment with her Japanese rival backstage that night.
“She is a great person,” said Lee.
“I was in the warm-up room, and had to do [media] obligations, and I saw Mei. I went over to her and apologised, but she said, ‘No, don’t apologise. Take as much time as you need to get better, and I will see you then.’ I mean, where do you find people like that? I don’t even know!
“People are like, ‘Even though you two are friendly towards each other, how are you going to be able to step into the cage and punch each other in the face?’ It just comes down to business. You’ve got to do what you got to do, whether you like the person or not. You have to get the job done.”
While the respect is clearly there between the pair, Lee nonetheless knows that she faces a tough test against Yamaguchi in Singapore.
After winning their first contest by decision, Lee who earned her BJJ black belt since their first bout, plans on making a statement and claiming a finish second time around.
“That is just my fight style,” she said.
“The way I fight just leads me to these quick finishes, and these quick victories, which is great because I take as little damage as possible so I can try to have a long career.
“For [my brother] Christian and I, the way we fight is very explosive, we are very dynamic, and we always mix it up. I think that is how we get all these awesome victories.”
Her mention of her brother Christian is particularly relevant, as the two siblings will both feature prominently on the ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS card, with both competing in world title bouts – a historic first for siblings. While Angela is looking to retain her atomweight belt, Christian will challenge Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the ONE Featherweight World Title.
Lee said she and her brother had harboured a dream to compete on the same night in the main and co-main events. Now that dream is set to become a reality, with the added prestige of world titles on the line for both.
“Boom. The first brother-sister world champions! That is the goal,” said Lee.
“That is what we have been talking about ever since we were 16.”
That dream is just one night – and two wins – away from reality.